We have reached Prediction #40 for our 75 In 75 Series regarding the 2023-24 Buffalo Sabres. So what’s in store for the Blue and Gold?
Last season, Game #80 was a heartbreaker for the Buffalo Sabres, as they went to New Jersey and found themselves unable to mount a comeback in their most crucial game of the year. At the end of the final horn, the Blue and Gold extended their infamous playoff drought from 11 to 12 seasons.
The final two games were for nothing more than bragging rights at that point, yet Buffalo ended up winning them both. This at least catapulted them over the 90-point mark. While there was some meaning in their penultimate game vs. the Ottawa Senators thanks to the contest being goaltender Craig Anderson’s last, they were otherwise forgettable.
This season, the final two games of the year against the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning won’t be so forgettable. And that’s because the Sabres will have clinched a playoff spot by Game #80, setting the stage for a pair of showdowns against the Florida teams.
Buffalo Sabres will compete for a Top 3 spot in final two games
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Buffalo Sabres factor in as the Top 4 teams in the Atlantic this season, and everyone following the Blue and Gold in 2023-24 will be more than content with a wild card. Toronto and Florida will likely take the top two spots in the Atlantic, but the Sabres, for purposes of this bold prediction, enter Game 81 three points behind the Lightning for that coveted third spot.
They beat Florida in a thriller, with goaltender Devon Levi finally exerting revenge on the team that traded him in their home arena after falling short last season. Finally, they wrap up their season against the Tampa Bay Lightning, win it in a thriller, and pull ahead of them by a point. Tampa loses a heartbreaker on April 17th to the Maple Leafs, catapulting Buffalo into not only the playoffs, but a Top 3 spot.